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graphs CLIMATE-UK.COM'S REVIEW OF THE BRITISH METEOROLOGICAL SCENE
MONTHLY SUMMARY
No. 651 For MARCH 2010
COLD, DRY FIRST HALF WITH SUNNY PERIODS; WARM BUT CLOUDY SECOND HALF WITH FREQUENT RAIN
Text Box: March was the proverbial 'month of two halves'.  The first half was anticyclonic, but the second half was dominated by south-westerly and southerly winds, and from the 20th onwards it was often cyclonic. Over the whole month, mean pressure was generally 2-5mbar above the average, and the anomalous flow was weakly northerly over much of the UK.

A steady rise in pressure on the 1st led to the establishment of an anticyclone over the UK from the 2nd until the 11th. From there it transferred to the west of Ireland from the 12th-14th, thence drifting through the Southwest Approaches and across France to central Europe by the 17th. 

Until the 13th the weather predominately dry but cold, and frost occurred widely on several nights, while the late-February snow-cover in the Scottish highlands (at inhabited levels) lasted until the 13th. The frosts were very severe where the snow remained, with readings below -10C on each of the first five nights, and Braemar (Aberdeenshire) recorded -17.1C early on the 3rd and -18.6C on the 4th. Daytime temperatures were typically between 4 and 8C over England and Wales, but Cluanie Inn (Wester Ross) registered a high of just 0.1C on the 3rd. Sunshine was plentiful over most of the UK until the 8th (11.2h at Southampton on the 7th and 11.1h at Aberporth in Ceredigion on the 8th), but thereafter it was rather cloudy at times, and showers broke out in many districts on the 11th and 12th. Milder Atlantic air finally spread to all districts on the 14th, which was the first day to exceed 10C for over three months over much of the Midlands. Between the 13th and 18th rain fell daily in many northern and western districts, including a fall of 56mm on the 14th at Cluanie Inn, but most eastern, central and southern counties of England stayed dry and warm with sunny spells and afternoon highs of 13-16C, and on the 18th Weybourne (Norfolk) recorded 18.0C.

From the 19th onwards the weather became much more disturbed, although it remained generally mild until almost the month's end. Pressure was persistently low to the west of the British Isles, and deep depressions tracked north-eastwards across the
Text Box: country on the 20th, 26th, and 30th. In the wake of the last of these, strong north to north-westerly winds blew across the UK on the 31st. 

During the last two weeks of the month rain fell daily over much of the country, and there were some heavy falls at times in western and northern districts. Northern Scotland was very windy on the 19th, with a gust of 63kn logged at Fair Isle (between Orkney and Shetland). However, temperatures remained well above normal for most of the time, especially between the 20th and 25th: the minimum overnight 19th/20th was 11.9C at the Olympics site in London, Wokingham (Berks) reported a max of 17.9C on the 24th, and Coningsby (Lincs) had 16.4C on the 25th. Thunderstorms, locally quite severe though short-lived, affected a substantial part of England during the afternoon and evening of the 25th. 

A cold northerly flow returned to Scotland on the 28th, and rain spreading northwards across England and Wales on the 29th turned to snow in many parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Heavy wet snow fell for 48h in these districts, accompanied by a strengthening northerly wind, resulting in widespread power outages and serious transport disruption, and by the evening of the 31st it lay 40cm deep at Aviemore (Inverness-shire). Dalwhinnie (Inverness-shire) climbed no higher than -0.1C on the 30th.  Rainfall totals for the 48h ending 21h on the 31st included 103mm at Ballypatrick Forest (Co Antrim) and 97mm at Helens Bay (Co Down), and the wind gusted to 59kn at Aberporth on the 31st.

The cold first half and warm second half largely cancelled each other out; mean maximum temperature was 0.0-1.0degC above the 1971-2000 norm in most places, while mean minimum temperature was 0.0-1.0degC below. It was a wet month over much of Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and north Wales, but rainfall was 30-50% below normal in parts of the south Midlands and in the Channel Islands with just 22mm at Thurleigh (Beds). Most parts of the country were 10-20% sunnier than average, although the bulk of the sunshine came during the first half of the month. The sun shone for a total of 157h during the month at Jersey airport.
                                                                                                                                             
    TEMPERATURE   SUNSHINE   RAINFALL        
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                     
                                  Highest and lowest totals             Highest and lowest totals        
                                  on record for month    
Maximum fall in 24 hrs
   (beginning 09 h)
        on record for month    
Days with snow or sleet
 
Days with fog
(Vis <220 yards at 09 h)
 
                                                                                         
     
Difference from average
   
Difference from average
 
Highest maximum
   
Lowest minimum
   
No. of days with grass
  minimum below 0C
   
Days of no sunshine
 
Maximum duration
       
First year of record
         
Days of no rainfall
 (0.1 mm or less)
         
First year of record
         
Days with thunder
     
  PLACE  
Mean Maximum
   
Mean minimum
             
No. of air frosts
       
Total for month
                   
Total for month
                   
                               
% of average
                   
% of average
                 
                                                                     
                                   
Highest
   
Lowest
 
Year
             
Highest
   
Lowest
 
Year
       
             
Date
   
Date
         
Date
         
Year
         
Date
         
Year
           
                                                                     
    C     C     C     C           Hrs     Hrs       Hrs     Hrs       mm     mm       mm     mm          
                                                                                                                                             
  *Hampstead   10.2   +0.2   03.2   +0.3   16.3   18   -04.0   07   17   05   00   08.1   07   124   121   1910   190   1995   051   1981   17   07.2   23   041   076   1910   134   1947   03   1929   00   00   00  
  Thorney Island   09.8   -1.3   03.2   -0.3   14.1   27   -04.6   05   15   06   00   11.2   07   138   106   1956   207   1995   073   1964   20   07.4   29   018   037   1941   162   1947   03   1961   01   00   00  
  *Wattisham   09.8   -0.1   02.2   0.0   14.7   24   -06.2   08   16   09   05   10.7   07   111   098   1968   201   1995   051   1975   14   12.8   29   034   073   1960   101   2008   07   1961   00   01   00  
  *Wittering   10.1   +0.8   02.6   0.0   16.4   18   -05.5   08   13   08   05   10.7   07   126   114   1950   197   1995   042   1984   15   07.0   29   034   067   1948   097   1975   08   1961   00   01   00  
                                                                     
  Lyneham   09.6   +0.0   02.2   -0.7   14.4   18   -05.9   07   17   09   01   10.2   05   134   111   1952   177   2009   057   1984   17   07.0   19   034   061   1946   149   1981   02   1961   01   01   00  
  Ross-on-Wye   11.0   +0.7   02.3   -0.8   15.7   18   -05.6   07   20   09   03   10.0   07   129   115   1915   188   1929   054   1996   18   10.5   19   042   075   1859   177   1947   <01   1938   00   01   00  
  *St Athan   09.6   -0.2   03.1   -0.6   13.1   17   -03.4   08   16   07   03   10.9   15   135   110   1954   174   2003   067   1996   16   14.4   19   046   065   1954   159   1981   13   1961   00   00   00  
  Culdrose   09.6   -0.4   03.4   -1.0   11.9   18   -02.7   02   16   07   03   09.9   05   140   110   1961   191   1973   072   1969   15   14.2   29   053   059   1961   164   2001   02   1961   00   00   00  
                                                                     
  *Edgbaston   09.5   -0.9   03.4   -0.4   14.5   18   -04.2   08   15   06   01   09.7   07   121   125   1887   215   1893   041   1960   18   06.0   24   033   052   1887   172   1947   04   1929   00   02   00  
  *Valley   09.2   -0.8   03.4   -1.2   12.0   25   -03.4   08   17   07   04   10.8   07   147   110   1946   196   1955   076   1998   17   16.6   30   077   118   1941   152   1981   13   1990   00   01   00  
  *Woodford   10.4   +1.1   02.0   -0.6   15.1   17   -08.0   08   19   10   03   10.7   07   117   113   1945   169   1948   052   1983   16   11.6   30   050   087   1942   139   1981   13   1944   00   03   00  
  *Watnall   10.0   +0.7   03.0   +0.4   15.1   25   -05.5   07   16   07   03   10.7   07   124   113   1948   179   1995   045   1984   12   09.6   24   050   099   1942   143   1947   06   1961   00   03   00  
                                                                     
  *Leeming   10.3   +0.9   01.6   -1.1   16.8   18   -07.0   08   16   12   03   10.5   07   135   128   1945   164   2009   036   1996   15   14.2   29   060   124   1945   113   1947   03   1953   00   03   00  
  *Boulmer   09.2   +0.4   03.2   +0.8   14.4   18   -01.8   03   13   05   09   09.5   02   087   078   1945   178   1997   031   1964   16   28.0   30   092   167   1945   119   1947   08   1953   00   04   00  
  *Eskdalemuir   07.9   +0.2   -00.1   -1.1   12.3   14   -07.4   02   19   12   11   09.4   04   073   081   1911   185   1929   044   1936   11   31.4   30   154   129   1911   282   1989   17   1944   00   08   00  
  *Bishopton   09.3   -0.2   01.8   -0.8   13.2   17   -05.3   02   15   08   05   10.1   10   112   114   1921   155   2003   039   1936   13   13.8   29   076   106   1921   180   1994   17   1969   00   05   00  
                                                                     
  *Leuchars   09.5   +0.5   01.7   -0.9   14.1   17   -04.6   03   24   06   07   10.9   27   109   095   1922   187   1929   049   1964   19   23.2   29   063   139   1922   103   1958   07   1973   00   04   00  
  *Dyce   08.8   +0.4   02.2   +0.2   13.8   19   -07.2   03   13   07   06   09.8   27   112   105   1941   192   2003   030   1964   16   14.4   30   047   077   1941   127   1958   07   1953   00   06   00  
  *Stornoway   08.9   +0.1   03.2   -0.3   11.2   19   -02.6   29   12   06   05   09.6   08   092   079   1880   172   1911   055   1938   05   10.0   18   061   070   1943   206   1990   19   1969   00   05   00  
  *Aldergrove   09.6   -0.2   01.7   -1.5   13.5   21   -05.2   09   20   09   03   10.7   08   125   117   1927   181   1929   053   1996   17   22.4   30   070   128   1927   122   1940   09   1953   00   04   00  
                                                                     
                                                                                                                                             
  Stations marked with an asterisk record sunshine electronically; comparisons      
  with earlier records are therefore somewhat speculative. Thorney Island's      
  sunshine figures are from a nearby site.